Blended families come in many different forms, but they always include a husband or wife from a prior marriage with kids from previous relationships. Typically, it refers to married couples with children from a prior marriage or relationship. A blended family can also be referred to as a stepfamily or bonus family.
According to Your Dictionary, “A blended family is defined as a family made of two parents and their children from previous marriages. An example of a blended family is a woman with two children from a previous marriage who marries a man with three children from a previous marriage.”
According to Oxford, a blended family is “a family consisting of a couple and their children from this and all previous relationships.”
How common are blended families?
Blended families are becoming more common.
According to Pew Research 62% of children in the U.S. live in two-parent households and 15% of those are living with parents in a remarriage.
Why do blended families fail?
The sad truth is that many blended families fail because blending families are challenging. According to Goodtherapy.org, studies show that 66% of second marriages involving kids from previous marriages fail. No matter how great your spouse is, or how well behaved the stepkids are, there will be times where at least one of the parents wishes that they didn’t have to be the stepmom or stepdad anymore. When stepparents reach that point, they often decide to quit trying. In most cases, issues with stepchildren drive a wedge between the spouses. Most parents are very protective of their own children and become overly defensive about them and the more stepparents try to help with the parenting, it exacerbates the problem.
Can blended families be successful?
Although many stepfamilies seem doomed for failure, it is absolutely possible for a blended family to be successful. While some situations are unhealthy for everyone involved, many families can be saved if there is a desire to work through the problems. With that desire, counseling, books, blogs, and stepparenting forums can be a great resource for ideas, as long as those providing the information are sharing their successful experiences. Stay away from articles, forums, etc. that tend to complain or cause more negative feelings about your situation. Unfortunately, the answers to a successful blended family are not as intuitive as one would think.
How do blended families deal with problems?
Problems in blended families can be dealt with in a number of ways. However, every problem can have its own unique circumstances with a unique set of variables including the background and personalities of the parents and kids involved, whether stepparents are part-time or full-time parents, whether the ex-spouse is involved and how much, etc. This blog will address some of those variables as we share experiences from our family and others that have shared their triumphs and failures.
Common problems and challenges for blended families:
- Children not feeling loved or feeling left out
- Sibling rivalry
- Children manipulating parents
- Dreading holidays, vacations, and other family events
- Marital problems
- Discipline (or the lack thereof)
The information provided in this blog will address these challenges and more will provide parents and kids with suggestions, tools, and resources for navigating the challenges of blended families. We always encourage others to share their success stories as well!